December 2, 2013 – Gulf Shores, AL (GSA) – Earlier this year, Mayor Robert Craft and members of the City Council voted to hire Auburn University Professor of Economics, M. Keivan Deravi, Ph.D, to conduct a study on the economic impact derived from the Hangout Music Festival as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to bolster the “shoulder season” economy. Today, the results from that study were released.
In all, the study estimated the festival’s total economic impact on the local economy at more than $31 million of goods and services purchased and 518 full time equivalent jobs.
According to the study, Deravi estimated the direct impact of the Hangout Music Festival accounts for 412 full time equivalent jobs and infuses $18.4 million across three key sectors:
$8.9 million entertainment sales
$4.7 million in accommodation expenditures
$3.8 million in food and other services
The study found that the Fourth Annual Hangout Music Festival drew an estimated 27,000 people to the Alabama Gulf Coast, compared to approximately 35,000 in 2011 and 2012. Additionally, close to 90 percent of all festival attendees were identified to be non-local, who required overnight accommodations in the area and intercept surveys show that a very large cohort of festival attendees represents a higher middle-income to higher income class.
With 80 percent of those attendees coming from outside the state of Alabama, the study shows festival-goers represent markets such as Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas, which have been hard-to-reach markets for the area in the past.
The addition of significant media coverage through social media and live-streaming from the 2013 festival reportedly exposed Gulf Shores to 564 million people worldwide.
“There is no question that this festival has helped introduce Gulf Shores to new markets,” said Mayor Craft. “We have worked closely with festival organizers each year and having quantifiable numbers like this will help us as we look at how we can enhance this partnership moving forward.” .
Historically, the tourism season in the Gulf Coast area started with Memorial Day weekend and ended with the first week of August. According to the study, the festival effectively pushed the start of the season to one week earlier than previous years.
“The results from this study confirm what we previously thought,” said Craft. “The impact this festival makes on the local economy is comparable to the Fourth of July and it’s happening on what was previously thought of as a shoulder season weekend.”
According to the research, the occupancy rate for the weekend of the festival reached near full capacity at 90 percent versus 30 percent reported for pre-festival years.
Click Hangout Economic Impact to view the entire report.